“What the junk?” – Lumberjanes!

lumberjanes001A review by Tanya Gouchenour

Lumberjane Scouts Jo, Molly, Ripley, April, and Mal are best friends, determined to have an awesome time at summer camp, no matter what because, “Friendship to the max!” In the Lumberjanes series, writers Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis, along with illustrator Brooke Allen bring the Lumberjane scouts and their adventures to life for Boom! Studios.

We first meet these adventuresome teens in issue #1, out in the woods past curfew where they discover an unusual creature. Rather, a group of unusual creatures. When they make it back to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Girls (Hardcore Lady Types), they spill their story to Rosie, the camp leader. Rosie tells them they’ll see stuff at camp that they might not understand, but that they can handle it, because they’re scouts, and they should stick together, no matter what, and remember the Lumberjanes pledge.Janes04

Over the course of the first five issues, the scouts face a river monster, three-eyed wolves, yeti, dinosaurs, and even… boy scouts! Not only are the girls close and loyal friends, but there is even a hint at romance between two of them. Their counselor, Jen, figures into each story as she bravely soldiers on, trying to keep the girls out of trouble.

badgesOn the back of each issue is a picture of a scout sash with newly added badges each month, beginning with the Up All Night badge in issue #1. Over the summer, Boom! Studios sold a set of scout badges, three were from the book and one was a San Diego ComiCon exclusive item. Currently, there are six available for pre-order from the Boom! Studios website.

Each issue also has a playlist—something you definitely don’t find in every comic book. The playlist is themed for a particular girl and the main adventure from the issue. The playlist page in the book has artwork, a list of songs, and dotted lines, inviting the reader to cut it out to insert into a jewel case.

Writer Noelle Stevenson’s work may be familiar to those who have read the webcomic, Nimona, but cowriter Grace Ellis is a newcomer. Together, they have created a book full of fun, laughter, and a few scares. The characters are well-rounded and believable, sometimes having second thoughts, and other times charging in headlong because they see their friends in danger. Artist Brooke Allen brings their world to life with bright and colorful illustrations. The character design is simple, but exaggerated at times, and her style gives Lumberjanes a look all its own.

This is an all-ages title, but doesn’t dumb anything down for a younger audience. The characters have their own lingo (like “what the junk?” for a surprised oath) and the style is accessible. Lumberjanes should be available at your local comic shop, and if it’s not, ask for it. It’s a good life decision.

Tanya GouchenourLifelong nerd & reader of many fun things, Tanya is a cube-dweller by day & wannabe superhero on the weekends. She loves spending time with her husband & small menagerie. Cooking is of great interest, too. She is also a member of the Phoenix chapter of Very Awesome Girls Into Nerdy Activities, for which she is an Historian, chronicling the group’s charitable shenanigans at many events.

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